Christianity Verses Judaism

April 14, 2011
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In the famous Shakespearean play, Merchant of Venice, there is a huge conflict between two men; Shylock, the Jew and Antonio, the Christian. There have been conflicts in the past and present day involving religion.

Christianity became strong in the late fourth century. Many Jews converted over to Christianity because it answered questions of the Torah, Jewish book. Christians were forced out of synagogues simply because they did not worship or believe in the Torah.

The Jewish faith would have many Pagan converts but the Jews became in trouble with the Roman Empire. The Pagans were turned to Christianity to be slaves and servants to the lower income, or the lower class people. Around the resolution of the second century was when Pagans became Christians and taught the Christian ways and beliefs to other Pagans.

It was believed that the Christians were a branch off of Judaism, but they made a profound statement they no longer belonged to the synagogue, the Jewish house of worship. The Christians were looked down upon because they broke away from the “parent faith.”

In later years Christianity tried to take over and replace Judaism. The Jews got very defensive. The idea of being replaced lead to people converting to different religions. The religion of Christianity could not be formed without first having and establishing Judaism. The Judaism faith was the first fold to the rest of the world religions.

The Jews helped establish Christianity because the denials of Judaism make Christians who they are as a faith today. The Jews believe in the Torah, the first five books of the Holy Bible. The Christians believe in the Holy Bible, as a whole book, with an Old Testament and a New Testament. There is many things Christians believe that Jews do not, mostly which happens in the New Testament.

In the Christian New Testament, some Jews have questioned the belief of a “replaced” God. In the Old Testament it is God, but they think his love has been replaced by Jesus, the New Testament God. They misunderstand that Jesus was sent by God, to teach people about him. They often question what God’s true love is and who should be worshiped.

Christianity has many congregations branching off, some include Catholicism, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, and non-denominational. All of which believe things based off of Christianity and the Holy Bible.

Christianity and Judaism are two completely different religions and they have accepted and come accustomed to them. They may not agree with each other, but that is why two different religions now exist.

In Shakespeare’s play, he wrote about religion because he often incorporated real life into his script. People looked down on Jews and did not like them simply because they were Jewish. Shakespeare used Antonio to serve as the “good” Christian character, and Shylock as a foil.

In the sixteenth century many Christians misled and misused Jews. As Shylock became the victim at the end Shakespeare’s comedy, the Christians were off rejoicing in Belmont. On many occasions this really happened, Christians got together and targeted the Jews.

The hate on Jews increased in England around 1190 and continued through the 1600s. Jews were forced to wear strips of yellow cloth to be identified, and were taxed heavily. They also could not mingle with other Christians. Jews lived in the ghetto of the town. Although all this lasted through Shakespeare’s time, many Jews were not still living in England. Many chose to convert to Christianity or they joined protection services.

A conflict many people face in America today is not necessarily Jews verses Christians. It is separation of religion and state. Children cannot express their religious beliefs at school, or it has been stated. The state cannot control the use of religious clothing or jewelry that a child may wear to school. Students have a right to perform their own rituals as long as they do not disturb the learning environment of other students.

Many schools are unaware of student rights to express religion. Many of the problems form with the school principal and school board members. Some freedoms are over looked and misunderstood; you often have to fight for them.

One thing that is not allowed is teachers or educators preaching on religion or another. There is a fine line between preaching and teaching about religion. Many students and families are protective and do not approve of teaching religion unless it is their own. Everyone wants their religion to be right, and do not want their children influenced in other directions. The U.S. Supreme Court has made a ruling of separation of church and state.

Although the Equal Access Act has allowed under federal government to allow non-curriculum clubs, organized religious groups such as a Bible Study can be held. They can be held with the being it does not interfere with student’s capability to learn, attendance is voluntarily, the group is not funded by the school, and the group is student initiated. If a Bible Study is allowed then other groups such as: Chess Club, Prayer Group, “Prayer at the Pole” and other non-curriculum groups. The prayer groups and “Prayer at the Pole” are protected by the U.S. Constitution, in the first amendment. It states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” It is proven after the Equal Access Act was passed the numbers rose in religious groups made and directed by students.

In the fourth century the conflict between Judaism and Christianity began. In the 1600s, when Shakespeare was busy writing scripts the conflict between religions still existed. Even in present day there are still conflicts involving religion, whether they be religion verses religion or religion verses state. We can all be our own Shakespeare, notice all the different diversity and how we treat each other because of beliefs. Conflicts still continue to rise throughout history, they will for many more years; history repeats itself, so more conflicts will come up involving different religions and even the government.

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HisPurePrincess This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 3, 2011 at 9:52 am
Very interesting.  It's always interesting, the topic of religion.  :)  Well written too.
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